Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: December 12, 2017

Police say ISIS supporter was behind blast in New York subway, Alabama's controversial Senate race goes to voters, and more


3 injured in New York subway blast blamed on ISIS supporter

A man with a pipe bomb strapped to him detonated the device in the New York City subway on Monday, burning himself in the hands and abdomen, lightly injuring three other people, and sending commuters fleeing one of the nation's busiest subway corridors. Authorities called the incident an "attempted terrorist attack," and arrested the suspect. He was identified as Akayed Ullah, 27, an immigrant from Bangladesh. Police said the suspect said he wanted to retaliate for attacks against the Islamic State, and timed the assault during the holiday season for maximum impact. "Our lives revolve around the subway," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "The choice of New York is always for a reason, because we are a beacon to the world. And we actually show that a society of many faiths and many backgrounds can work."


Alabama's controversial Senate race goes to voters today

Alabama Senate candidates Roy Moore and Doug Jones face off Tuesday in their closely watched special election, with polls showing a dead heat. A Fox News poll published Monday showed Jones, the Democrat, up 10 points, but a rival poll by Emerson showed Moore, the Republican, with a 9-point lead. RealClearPolitics' average between Nov. 27 and Dec. 10 put Moore up by 2.5 points. Moore's standing slipped weeks ago after several women accused him of pursuing them or touching them inappropriately when they were as young as 14 and he was in his 30s. Former President Barack Obama and his vice president, Joe Biden, made last-minute robocalls backing Jones, countering a similar appeal by President Trump for Moore.


Women call for investigation of their allegations against Trump

Three women who last year accused President Trump of sexual misconduct revived their allegations for what they called "round two," sharing them on the Megyn Kelly Show and appealing for a congressional investigation. In all, 16 accusers are calling for an investigation, hoping to get a broader hearing for their stories thanks to the still-building strength of the #MeToo anti-sexual harassment movement. Trump has denied all of the accusations, and the White House dismissed the renewed public airing of the stories, saying that the questions had been litigated in last year's election and included nothing new. Privately, some Trump aides acknowledged that the allegations could pose problems for the president in the newly charged atmosphere.


Judge denies Pentagon request to delay deadline for accepting transgender recruits

A federal judge on Monday denied a Trump administration request to delay an order for the military to start accepting transgender recruits on Jan. 1. The Pentagon said it would comply. Transgender service members have challenged President Trump's memorandum telling the military to bar transgender people from serving in the military. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the Trump administration had failed to show that it would "be irreparably injured by" being required to honor the deadline for letting transgender recruits join the military while challenges to President Trump's policy work their way through the courts. Kollar-Kotelly said that the administration had nearly a year and a half to come up with legal justification for the policy, but had merely managed to make "vague claims" that did not justify a stay.


Firefighters struggle to make gains as California wildfires continue

Thousands of firefighters fighting the massive Thomas Fire in Southern California made slight gains on Monday after powerful winds that fueled the blaze over the weekend lost some strength. Red Flag fire-danger due to Santa Ana winds and extremely dry conditions continued, however, rather than expiring as once forecast. "It doesn't get much drier than this folks," the National Weather Service Service tweeted. The Thomas Fire, now the fifth largest in modern California history, remained only 20 percent contained after scorching an area larger than all of New York City. The Thomas Fire and five other major wildfires burning in the state have destroyed more than 1,000 structures since last week.


San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee dies at 65

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee died early Tuesday in a San Francisco hospital. He was 65. Lee was the first Asian American to lead the San Francisco government. He was appointed by the Board of Supervisors in 2011 to replace former mayor Gavin Newsom after his election as the state's lieutenant governor. Lee was then elected to a full term later the same year, and re-elected in 2015. In the last year, the former director of San Francisco's Human Rights Commission battled with President Donald Trump over immigration, as San Francisco was a leading sanctuary city under Lee.


Former U.S. soldier who defected to North Korea in Cold War dies

Former U.S. soldier Charles Jenkins, who defected to North Korea while drunk in a bizarre Cold War drama, has died at age 77, Japan's NHK broadcaster reported Tuesday. Jenkins was a young Army sergeant stationed at the Demilitarized Zone in South Korea when he got drunk and crossed into North Korea in what he would later describe as the "biggest mistake" of his life. "I was so ignorant," he told The Washington Post in a 2008 interview, describing North Korea as a "giant, demented prison." Jenkins was freed in 2004 and lived out his life on a small, isolated Japanese island, with his Japanese wife, Hitomi Soga, who had been abducted by North Korean spies in 1978 and freed two years before Jenkins.


New Yorker fires correspondent Ryan Lizza over sexual misconduct allegation

The New Yorker announced Monday that it had fired Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza over an allegation of sexual misconduct. "We have reviewed the matter and, as a result, have severed ties with Lizza," a spokesperson for the magazine said in a statement. "Due to a request for privacy, we are not commenting further." Lizza said The New Yorker had made a "terrible mistake" by characterizing "a respectful relationship with a woman I dated as somehow inappropriate." Douglas Wigdor, an attorney for the accuser, said that his client wants to remain unidentified, but that she denies that Lizza's actions constituted a "'respectful relationship' as he has now tried to characterize it."


Chef Mario Batali on leave after sexual misconduct allegations

Four women accused celebrity chef Mario Batali of inappropriate touching and sexual harassment over two decades, Eater NY reported Monday. One of the women, a chef, said that at a party about 10 years ago she introduced herself to Batali. After wine spilled on her chest, she said, Batali began aggressively rubbing her breasts, saying something like "Let me help you with that." Batali, who has been reprimanded for inappropriate workplace behavior as recently as two months ago, said that he was stepping away from his restaurant empire and TV show for an unspecified time. Batali apologized, saying that while the accusers' identities had not been revealed, "much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted."


The Shape of Water leads Golden Globe nominees

Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water, Steven Spielberg's The Post, and Martin McDonagh's Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri led the Golden Globe nominations, announced Monday. Del Toro's film received seven nods; The Post and Three Billboards with six each. Dunkirk and Call Me By Your Name face them for Best Movie Drama. Among TV drama nominees, only This Is Us belongs to a traditional network, competing against Netflix's Stranger Things and The Crown, Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, and HBO's Game of Thrones. Black-ish, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Master of None, SMILF, and Will and Grace compete for Best TV Comedy or Musical, while The Disaster Artist, Get Out, I, Tonya, The Greatest Showman, and Lady Bird compete for Best Comedy or Musical Film.


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The rubble of a Peshawar mosque damaged in a suicide bombing.

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The Adani Group scandal, explained
Gautam Adani.

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China says it successfully cloned 3 'super cows'
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China says it successfully cloned 3 'super cows'

Japanese restaurants fight back against viral 'sushi terrorism' trend
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Republicans oust Ilhan Omar from House committee
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